EXCLUSIVE FEATURE: Stevenage's impressive Spurs loanee Luke Amos looks set for promising future
PUBLISHED: 14:40 04 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:50 04 May 2018
©2018 Ben Beale MoD Crown - all rights reserved
Stevenage's Tottenham Hotpsur loanee Luke Amos is waiting patiently in the heat.
He is standing on the manicured pitches of the club’s Bragbury End training ground, purchased in the wake of Boro’s epic – and lucrative – FA Cup matches against Spurs in 2012.
He has finished an intense training session led by boss Dino Maamria. It is hot. Most of his team-mates have already left for the day.
But the 21-year-old Welwyn-born attacker has agreed to an interview. And he is not a footballer to break his word.
As our CometSport photographers angle the perfect picture the former England U18 midfielder is as far removed from a pampered Premier League star as you can imagine.
Despite the mercury touching 30C Amos is calm and personable, a reflection of his reliable on-field temperament.
This highly-rated starlet has travelled with Mauricio Pochettino’s first team squad to three tournaments including Hong Kong, but has yet to make his debut. It’s surely only a matter of time after sitting on the bench three times in the Champions League as well as at League Two side Newport County at a raucous Rodney Parade during their FA Cup fourth round game.
Such is his standing in N17 Spurs offered him a contract extension until 2019 on the same day he joined Boro on loan in January.
He praises his loan club warmly, saying: “There’s definitely a good mix at Stevenage. When I came here I slotted in easily because of people my age but senior lads like Jack King and Ronnie Henry helped me and taught me how to win games in League Two.”
Such as Boro’s impressive 1-0 victory against Newport, months after he visited South Wales with Spurs?
The composed Amos allows himself a smile at the memory of an excellent performance for Boro. “It was strange to go back to Newport but we played well that day. I’ve learned a lot here and I just want to win our remaining games. I want to thank everyone here and the fans for their support.”
With Amos having played his last match at the Lamex, playing his part in the impressive 3-1 victory over Paul Tisdale’s promotion chasing Exeter City last weekend, Boro’s final match of a long and hard season gives the club’s travelling support one more chance to view this rising star in red and white.
The attacker has always had ‘quick feet’ but through his time at Stevenage his has allied it with physicality and improved decision making.
His progress has been wonderful to chart yet the modest youngster is quick to praise others.
He says: “A lot of the confidence has come from the manager believing in me and giving me that opportunity to do what I do.
“I base my game on running, passing and my technical ability as well and to be able to show that and for people to say I’m doing well is good.
“I’ve always seen myself as a runner, passer and tackler but here I’ve been presented with the opportunities to take the men on and I back myself to beat them.
“At first I was a bit tentative but once I beat the first man, I feel like I can beat the next man and it comes down to confidence and self belief and I’ve been given the opportunity to do that at Stevenage.”
I ask him what he feels are the main differences between League Two and training with Premier League footballers and playing in Premier League 2.
He considers his answer, before explaining: “I’ve had some proper football games in my time here. The U23s are a bit different.
“I’ve come here where there’s big pressure on the points and the crowd are on your back, the away fans.
“I like away games especially when I’ve been playing wide and I go to take a throw in and I have a fan calling me this and that and I just smile and laugh – but this is the pressure that I enjoy and thrive for.
“In the U23s when there’s not really a crowd then it’s a bit disappointing but when there’s stuff on the line and there’s a crowd cheering your name then it’s definitely up there.”
In the rarefied levels of the Premier League there are many talented youngsters who possess plentiful skill, but Amos seems to ally that with an ability to keep the ball, to be efficient while offering an attacking threat – which is a difficult feat to pull off.
It will be genuinely interested to chart his progress next term.
Like all those with a real chance of reaching the top, he is never satisfied, always analysing where he can improve.
He adds: “I need to make sure I’m running hard for the team, winning my tackles and that’s the first level.
“Then on top of that, the best players add their quality and passing and keeping the ball, when to play short and when to play long.
“I’m miles off in terms of where I want to be – but in terms of this being an education to better myself then its been great,” he adds about his Stevenage experience.
What has also impressed is his inner strength and calm and collected character, which comes to the forefront when his Stevenage side are battling with their backs to the wall.
It is these situations which mark out real talent. And Amos has not been found wanting at testing away games in the fourth level of English professional football.
While some players shrink or even shirk, Amos has thrived in difficult conditions.
He says: “I like being the underdog, when people are on my back when they would write me off like Notts County away and Grimsby away when I’ve gone to get a ball and the fans are straight on my back.
“This is something I want to get used to because I want to be playing at a higher level and in front of big crowds and this is something I’m enjoying at the moment.”
What of his future back at Spurs?
Amos, an impressive young man as much as a footballer answers as diplomatically as possible, saying: I’m contracted to Tottenham,
“I’m a Tottenham U23 player but until the end of this season I’m a Stevenage player and I’m enjoying it.
“I’m learning every week and I’m enjoying the new challenge.
“I cant lie if I haven’t thought about next season but at the moment my main aim is to finish of this season and focus on Saturday, making sure I impress and do what I do and get the three points.”
What did Lillywhites boss Mauricio Pochettino say to him before he departed for his Stevenage soujurn – having first made sure he tied Amos to a longer contract with the blue and white side in North London?
Amos says: “The gaffer gave me permission to leave when I had the opportunity to play week in week out its something that I had to do and the coaches gave me full support.
“From my experience last year on loan at Southend, or more so when I’m round the first team and I have a chance to train with them and see the games, there first level is hard work, so that’s definitely something that’s instilled in me.
“Hopefully it’s something I can take into the rest of my career. If I can add the qualities I have on top then hopefully I can get to the top.
“All I do is play the best I can and it’s up for other people to decide where I play.”
As the interview nears its conclusion it is also reassuring to note this mature player also finds time to join in with the lads.
He is as far removed from a Premier League ‘fancy dan’ as can be imagined with his down to earth nature – however he does raise a smile when he discusses his North Herts team-mates dress sense.
He reveals with a ready smile just how bad some of his colleagues clothes really are.
“There are some bad ones. Like some boot cut jeans and some of that going on but I’m not here to name names.”
As we end our discussion he shows his generous nature by adding, unprompted, a note of praise for Stevenage FC and its band of loyal fans.
He says: “I would like to thank them for all their support. Even when I first came in and came of the bench for the first time I had all the fans supporting me and cheering me.
“When I see them around they say hello to me – I couldn’t ask for a better set of fans in terms of support.
“Even when’s the team playing badly I’ll get the ball and there will be a cheer and that’s something I’m really appreciative of.
“I wish them all the best”, before adding: “In football you try and plan things but it’s just carnage, so my focus is finish the season strong and returning in pre season in the best condition I can be and go from there.”
If his Spurs boss Pochettino has been reading the glowing reports from Amos’ excellent performances over the last five months at the Lamex that will surely mean an eagerly-awaited Premier League debut at the new White Hart Lane next season.
It’s the least Amos deserves after the hard work and excellent impression he has left in North Herts.